(Left to right – Wollens chief executive Chris Hart, Western Storm general manager Lisa Pagett, Wollens partner Chris Linton, Western Storm captain Heather Knight, Wollens HR director Gary Brenton, Wollens practice director Clive Meredith and Somerset County Cricket Club chief executive Andrew Cornish.)
Western Storm had already booked a place in the finals day of the Kia Super League before they took on the Surrey Stars at Somerset’s Taunton ground yesterday (Wednesday).
But they made in eight wins out of with an albeit tight four-run victory.
They are now on course to become the first team ever to win all their group matches before going on to the big finals day at Brighton on September 1.
Storm opener Rachel Priest blasted 44 in just 16 balls, including 26 runs in one over. Sophie Luff and Deepti Sharma both contributed to the Storm total of 159-8 which appeared to be gettable.
England international Sarah Taylor came up with a brilliant 73 from 54 balls in the Stars run chase but the Storm held their nerve, led by spinner Sharma who followed her useful knock with the bat with even more valuable bowling figures of 3-18. The visitors finished on 155-8.
Storm batter Sophie Luff was reported as saying”: “We’re really proud of our record. It’s eight straight wins and we’re looking to go through the group campaign unbeaten. There are two games left and we need to be ruthless, because that will stand us in good stead for the final.
“We’ve shown we can win games from all manner of positions and in all sorts of different scenarios and that has to fill you with confidence as a team. I think we have greater depth this year and more players have contributed match-winning performances. The fact we’ve got across the line in a few tight finishes before today certainly helped us out there.
“Sarah Taylor is a class player and her innings threatened to take it away from us. But nobody panicked, we stuck to our plans and held our nerve at the death. To defend 160 on that pitch in the way we did is a really good effort and we have to be pleased with it.
“I’ve spent a lot of time waiting to come in and bat this year and it was good to get to the middle a bit earlier for once. Deepti (Sharma) and I had to rebuild the innings and we knew we needed a good stand to get us back on track. It was just a pity that one of us couldn’t stay until the end to get us up to 170.”
Wollens solicitors, who are one of the main sponsors of Western Storm again this year, had a team in the crowd cheering them on to their latest victory. They were pictured with some of the Western Storm camp after the match.
Wollens chief executive Chris Hart said: “We are all delighted that Western Storm are through to Finals Day once again – and for the third successive year that we’ve been involved as sponsors.
“They’re on the verge of qualification straight through to the final itself after eight consecutive wins which is a massive achievement. We’re also delighted that their profile is so high across the region and that they work so closely with us as a sponsorship partner.
“It is also great to see them doing so much in terms of community sport and women and girls cricket.”
Storm travel to Surrey for the return game on Sunday and then host the Yorkshire Diamonds in their last group match at Taunton next Wednesday (August 28).
(Heather Knight Pictured above)